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Josh Doig admits “something special” is brewing within Scottish football ahead of Euro 2024

Josh Doig is loving life in Italy and has admitted that despite playing abroad, “something special” is brewing within Scottish football ahead of this summer’s Euros. 

The left-back, who moved to Serie A in 2022 from Hibs, can’t think of anywhere better to be plying his trade. He said: “It’s the best lifestyle, I can’t complain with anything.”

“The football has been a bit up and down like it always is.

“But I’m happy, I’m very happy.”

In the January transfer window, Doig was on the verge of a move to historic Ligue 1 side Marseille but eventually, it didn’t go through. Instead, he made the switch from Hellas Verona to fellow Serie A strugglers Sassuolo. 

The 21-year-old admitted that his new home is even better than his previous one: “The new city I’m in, Modena, it’s absolutely stunning, it probably almost tops Verona which is difficult to do.

“It’s amazing.”

There are a growing number of young Scots moving abroad. Aaron Hickey’s story is the most successful having eventually moved onto the Premier League, but Doig is focused on the present: “I’m probably not looking that far forward”, he said.

“At the moment my heads in Italy, my family are always over, and my girlfriend is over with me now permanently as well. We’re in Italy at the moment.

 “I spoke with Lewis Ferguson about it as well and he said ‘Why would you move away?’. It’s so good.”

With Bologna, Ferguson has excelled this season and became a regular member of the Scotland senior team.

Doig wants to follow in his footsteps, and his stunning strike for the U21s last Thursday in a stunning 4-1 win over Kazakhstan will have done him no harm.

Steve Clarke can take only 23 players to Germany, but the left-back has not confirmed his summer plans despite his full focus being on the U21s. He said: “I’m kind of in that limbo stage.”

“Obviously first and foremost I’m with the 21s at the moment but it’s hard not to look when you’ve had that little taste with the first team.

“I’m looking forward to it [Euros] and we’ll see what happens with the squad. It’s up to me how I play back over in Italy now till the end of the season but I’m just going to keep my head down and focus on my game first and whatever will be will be.”

Although he is relaxed over what might come in the summer, Doig and his teammates – both with club and country – can’t get away from the inherent buzz surrounding Scottish football.

The feeling of anticipation is filtering down the age groups of the national team and being felt on the continent. 

The Sassuolo man said: “It’s something special.

“I think there’s a kind of buzz around Scottish football at the moment. 

“I’ve felt it over in Italy, the boys in the team are saying Scotland are making a name for themselves now as ‘the warriors’ they’re getting called. 

“The first team are doing well and it filters down to us and it gives us a confidence booster to see the quality that’s coming out of Scotland at the moment.”

Doig already has experience with the A squad but has yet to register a senior Scotland cap.

In his position, there is vast competition with the likes of Andy Robertson, Kieran Tierney, and Greg Taylor all ahead of him in the pecking order. 

The youngster, though, is delighted to even be mentioned in the same conversation as players of such a standard.

He said: “Obviously there’s boys that have been in that position for ages and boys that I’ve looked up to all my career, growing up watching them.

“Even to be put in a category with them is crazy for me, it’s kind of disbelief but I think I’ve earned it by playing through the age groups at Hibs and then coming over to Italy.

“To be challenging for a spot against them is crazy for me.”

Doig is captain of the U21s and regularly stands out when he plays for them. It appears the next step for him is to gain consistent senior recognition.

He can only do so by continually impressing for Sassuolo but qualifying for next summer’s U21 Euros would add further strings to his bow.

At the halfway stage, the Scots sit second in Group B, three points behind leaders Spain. The team want to do their best to get to Slovakia next year, according to Doig.

He said: “We’ve got that belief.

“It’s so important, every game now. We’ll be looking at every result to finish as high up as we can because our goal obviously at the end of the day is to qualify.”

Doig and Co. aren’t in competitive 21s action again until September following their trouncing of Kazakhstan.

In their quest to get to Slovakia and become the first of their age group to make it to a Euros since 1996, the clash with Spain at the beginning of next season is nothing short of crucial.

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